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The Ability to Be a Good Sport
In a nation where sports is a major source of entertainment, the ability to be a good sport is a prized character trait. A good sport is recognized by playing for the enjoyment of playing, not just to win. A line from a movie goes “If winning is the only thing for you, it won’t ever be enough”. We want life to be enough for our children, with all its richness and challenges and opportunity. And because attitude can make or break how you feel about your life, a sportsmanlike attitude can go a long way toward feeling like a winner. Talk with your child about the things a person does to be a good sport:

• Do your best every time.

• Say nice things to others when they do well.

• Don’t complain. Make positive suggestions.

• Recognize talent and effort in others.

• Everyone gets a turn.

When we’re developing critical thinking skills in our children at the school, we play “what if” games. Talk with your child at non-emotional times about when it’s hard to be a good sport:

• When you make a mistake.

• When you have to take your turn last.

• When they’re bigger than you or have better toys than you do.

• When they win.

Working to have a sportsmanlike attitude can be very hard. As adults, there are courses in human relations, customer service, and team building. It’s really hard work. Our little children look to us to find out how to do it. Here are some answers you can give to help:

• Think about how much fun it would be to play (said when the child wants to quit).

• It may be more fun to play than to be left out.

• Watch what good things others do and try to do it like they do.

• Say nice things to others who are trying, too, like “good job” and “nice try”.

• Smile. It makes your body think it’s happy.